WUHAN VIRUS/Taiwan to quarantine those who transited through China, Hong Kong, Macau

02/07/2020 08:26 PM
Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中)
Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中)

Taipei, Feb. 7 (CNA) Starting on Monday, travelers who have transited through China, Hong Kong or Macau on their way to Taiwan will be quarantined for 14 days upon arrival, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Friday.

The new policy, announced by Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) at a press conference, considerably tightened restrictions that previously only applied to passengers who had traveled in those regions.

The new regulations come on the heels of the CECC's announcement on Thursday that five new cases of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) had been confirmed in Taiwan, bringing the total to 16.

According to the CECC, Taiwan currently has three types of 14-day quarantines that vary in their level of severity.

The first, which the government calls "home isolation," is used for individuals who have come in contact with confirmed cases of the virus.

Those under home isolation will receive health checks from Taiwanese medical authorities twice daily, and will be electronically monitored via their cell phones.

The second type, which the government calls "home quarantine," will be applied to people who have recently traveled in or transited through China, Hong Kong or Macau.

According to the CECC, those under "home quarantine" will receive daily health-check calls from their ward chief, and will also be under electronic surveillance through their cell phones.

Individuals who violate the terms of their home isolation or quarantine can face penalties, including mandatory medical isolation, under Taiwan's Communicable Disease Control Act.

Meanwhile, individuals with suspected cases of the coronavirus who have tested negative and met the terms for "home isolation" to be lifted, are to engage in "self-health management" for 14 days.

Individuals under "self-health management" should take their temperatures twice a day, wear a surgical face mask and minimize their time in public, and immediately report any possible symptoms to medical authorities.

(By Wu Hsin-yun and Matthew Mazzetta)

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